With Volthoom free to wreak havoc after imprisoning the Guardians in Green Lantern #17
, the First Lantern turns his attention to Guy Gardner in Green Lantern Corps
#17. The issue provides some key insight into Guy’s past and the keystone events in his life that led to him being the man he is today.
The Story –
While we don’t know how it happened, Guy Gardner starts out the issue already a captive of the First Lantern. As we saw him do with Ganthet, Volthoom unravels the tapestry of Guy’s life, looking for key moments to alter in order to create energy that he can use to power himself up so that he can permanently change history.
We witness Guy’s childhood and the challenges of being the middle child, yet he proves himself when he and his sister fall through the ice and he manages to help save his sister, only to have his father dote on Gerard for being the hero. When Volthoom swaps Guy and Gerard the results are gut wrenching as Guy cannot save his siblings he finds himself enduring his father’s wrath.
|The Gardner’s are always skating on thin ice….
Jumping forward in time we see the event that caused Guy to leave the police force as he is forced to make a decision that saves a greater number of people at the expense of a few. Volthoom undoes Guy’s choice revealing that his inability to make the difficult decision results in the death of everyone, Gardner included.
Finally Guy’s time as a Red Lantern is revisited, only this time he’s managed to hold onto his Green Lantern ring with a Sinestro Corps ring chaser, giving him three colors of the spectrum to be wielded against his fellow Green Lanterns. The grisly scene unfolds as Guy lays waste to all his closest members of the Corps, leaving him alone to face his own version of Blackest Night under the attack of a crowed of the undead led by Gerard and Gloria. The issue comes to close as a traumatized Guy remains under the domination of Volthoom.
The Writing –
Pete Tomasi really drags Guy through the mud this issue by delivering an emotional tale that really adds dimension to his character. As a middle child myself I understand feeling like your ignored and Tomasi twists the knife by taking that resentment about not getting enough and giving Guy something his id has probably been playing out in his subconscious for some time. But of course it all blows up in his face and there’s nothing good that could possibly come from it.
|Guys makes the tough choice, but in the end the only one he had
Similarly Guys’ actions in the airport put Guy in a real no win situation and there’s no way to emerge out the other side of the fire without getting burned. It’s clearly a character defining moment for Guy and the aftermath of his decision changed the course of his life forever. Tomasi executes the sequence perfectly, showing the anguish of dealing with the repercussions of his decision on the people that became collateral damage.
The Art –
Fernando Pasarin has a lot to work with this issue and the really delivers some great artwork to support Tomasi’s script. It was oddly comforting to see the Anti-Monitor among the images from Guy’s past as his presence was called into question with the events of Flashpoint. And while Guy’s time as Warrior and wearing Sinestro’s ring are no doubt compressed it was great to see that those parts of Guy’s past remains an element of his history.
|The Rage of the Red Headed Lantern
The anguish and heartbreak on Guy’s face drives home the emotion that he had to have been experiencing and likewise the visceral attack on the Corps at the end of the issue went a long way to show the horror of Guy losing control and unleashing his loosely bottled frustrations. The green hockey stick was a nice touch, too.
What Do I Think?
Green Lantern Corps #17 continues to build up the threat of the First Lantern and allowing readers to see more of the emotional baggage that Guy has been hauling around for years. What results is a very personal story that allows the Wrath of the First Lantern to built at a steady if casual pace. Four out of five lanterns.